Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Quote of the Week

I just read an article on Bruce Metcalf's blog that he wrote as a response to a post Kevin Murry wrote for AJF on advocacy and ethics in craft. Basically, Metcalf states that jewelry will never be an effective means to promote social change and here's why.

For me this article was really refreshing. I basically understood it to say that the socially responsible thing to do is make the work you want to make. If you want to be an advocate for social change, go into politics. My work doesn't have a social agenda, and it probably never will. Making green or sustainable or environmentally responsible work is also the least of my concerns when I sit down to make art. Maybe this makes me a bad person, maybe I make up for it in other aspects of my life style.

My favorite part was the last paragraph:

"My gift is imagining and making things. Only as a maker can I truly excel, and only as a maker can I make a contribution that might matter. If I have a responsibility, it is to exercise my gift. It is to function as an autonomous artist who serves only my own vision. In the long run, this is my only hope to have a real effect on the world. And it won’t be about ethics, not at all."

Sometimes I worry that there's no point to my work other than my own selfish amusement, so to hear someone I respect say that it's his responsibility to make his work as he sees fit, maybe I'm not so far off in the desert as I think I am. Maybe I actually am a little closer to the right track.

To read Bruce Metcalf's article go here.

I was unable to find Kevin Murray's article online.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Well, I've been busy (filling out applications), busy (making Christmas gifts for my family), busy (getting ready to head up North)! One other thing that has been keeping me busy is this commission piece.

It's a found shell set in a sterling silver ring, accented with brass, and a small tube set carnelian stone. It was a bit tricky because the client was very particular, and because this is some the most serious bench work I've done for quite some time. The shell also presented it's own set of challenges, because while I thought it was quite sturdy, it is in fact rather fragile. I had to improvise a bit when it came time to set the shell. I had originally intended to rivet the shell in place with the balls on the inside, but wound up flipping them around and turning them into prongs. I'm not exactly happy with the bottom one, I know it could be cleaner, but the shell just started to disintegrate at that spot.

Now to pack and prepare for a very long drive to PA!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Quote of the Week

I'm sorry that the Quote of the Week, has had an extended absence. Ususally, I pull the quotes from whatever it is that I'm reading. And while I've gone through a good deal of fiction this fall, I haven't been reading the types of things I know I should.

So, resolving for the hundreth time to do better, I give you two quotes to make up for the past quoteless months:

"But after awhile
the light I didn't believe in
shone in anyways through the windows,"
~Stephen Dunn, an excerpt from Round Trip

"In winter
seven stars
walk across a crystal forest."
~Soen Nakagawa (1907-1984)

Friday, December 9, 2011

What I've Not Been Working On

The other night I made a new sketchbook with the help of my friend Lisa Beth. She taught me how to put a cover from an existing book on a prepared text block of blank pages. I picked up this old Jesus book at the my favorite antique/junk store, and knew it would be just perfect for a sketchbook for my next body of work. I tend to get a little sloppy with the glue no matter how hard I try, and I glued in the end pages after the fact, when I know that there's a more proper way to do it. But I'm pleased just the same. The pages are watercolor color paper and some old bad prints, so the book looks really thick but I'm already worried about not having enough room. I suppose I can always make another one.

The main reason I came back to Greenville is because it provided me a studio to work in. But I'm finding my least favorite question to be (and one of the reasons I've been avoiding my art people) is "What have you been working on?" and various permutations of the phrase. Truth be told, I'm not working on anything. Or at least anything worth talking about. I'm in that first year of grad school phase where you try a bunch of things and make a bunch of crap. Which is exactly how my thesis body of work started. Only now, no one's around to hold me accountable.

It took me 4 years start to finish for my thesis work. I'm not ready for an undertaking of that magnitude just yet. But I'm getting ready to get ready. Which means I'm ready to start researching and sketching in my new Jesus sketchbook. So a little patience please. I'll let you know where there's something worth knowing. You know it'll be good, because it's got Jesus on the front.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Busy Busy Busy. . .

I thought I would get a chance to rest a little bit after Shop and Mingle, but the past few days, and the upcoming days seem as jam packed as the days before the sale. Unfortunately, not much of it makes for very interesting blogging. I did get a chance to rest on Sunday, and enjoy some time with friends, one who was visiting from out of town. Yesterday, I was invited to an enameling crit at Pitt Community College. Fellow ECU alum and dear friend Autumn Brown teaches there and had asked me to give an enameling demo back at the end of October. It was great to be able to see the completed projects!

Other than that it's been mostly small errands, house tidying, job hunting and gearing up for the next round of applications. I'm anxious to get back in the studio to make a few Christmas gifts and work on some designs for a possible commission that needs to be completed before I leave town. I did manage to make a kick ass sketchbook with the help of resident book maven Lisa Beth Robinson, but I'll blog more about that later.

One last thing I'd like to share with you tonight: Amy Tavern posted about the Hot Under the Collar exhibition. You can read it here. I feel so fortunate she agreed to be a juror! I know she and Bob will put together an incredible grouping of work.

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

La Noche del Broche Opening

The La Noche del Broche Exhibition opened last Friday at the Equinox Gallery in San Antonio, TX. The gallery has done a WONDERFUL job of posting all the work online. You can see all the brooches here.

As I was looking trough the list, I started to feel incredibly inadiquate. But then I looked at my brooch again, and I think it's fine. It's not what I wanted to send, but sometimes things don't work out the way you want.

At any rate, check out some AMAZING brooches here!

Shop and Mingle Wrap Up

Sorry for the lack of posting, but the past couple weeks have been a bit stressful. I was busy preparing job applications, and for the Shop and Mingle Sale at Emerge Gallery in downtown Greenville. No it's on to more job applications, a possible commission, a show piece, and preparing to leave Greenville in just a couple weeks! I can't believe how fast this fall has past!

I had a lot of fun doing the Shop and Mingle Sale. It had been a a few years since I had done a sale on my own, and I was trying not to forget all the little details (like packaging and a reciept book) which I typically don't have to worry about when selling with a group. I also had to sit the entire sale myself, which can get a bit tiring. I'd never done this sale so I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but all in all I'm happy with my sales and my trades. The work is still on display until just before Christmas, so hopefully I can move a few more pieces before it all comes down.

Hope you're enjoying your weekend and buying handmade and local for your holiday gifts!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Just within the past week, I all of the sudden found myself in the middle of a heated situation. There's a bit of an uproar from SNAG members over the lack of insurance for my necklace exhibition and another show that's taking place in the same space. The most vocal outcry has come from Harriete Estel Berman both on her blog, and the SNAG Facebook page. There is much discussion, and everyone seems to have an opinion. Myself, I'm not sure what to think.

I feel like a lot of assumptions are being made, so I'd like to clarify a few things, mainly about the process of how this show came about.

SNAG put out a call for exhibition proposals for the 2012 conference in Phoenix. I pitched an idea to SNAG that I was both invested in and thought might actually have a shot at being selected. I thought about what type of exhibition I would want to see my own work in. I approached jurors that I have utmost respect and admiration for, and who are well versed in the format of neckpieces. In fact, a piece of Amy Tavern's immediately came to mind when I thought about the type of work I wanted to see in the exhibition. I was thrilled when both Bob and Amy agreed to be on board. I was even MORE thrilled when I was told that my proposal had been selected, and later that it would be held at the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.

Then, about 6-8 weeks later, I was told that they would be putting my show, along with a second SANG exhibition in the gift shop at the SMoCA. A couple weeks after that, I was told that both exhibitions would be sharing at large atrium at the museum. It was at this time I found out that the show would not be insured. I was a bit concerned, but figured that as long as it was crystal clear to applicants that insurance would not be provided, and all shipping costs must be covered by the artist, that people would be able to make the choice for themselves whether or not to apply.

At this point I was just glad that the show was still happening at all, because for a hot minute, I didn't think it was. I was dissappointed that the show wouldn't be held in a gallery, and only partially because "large atrium" won't look nearly as good on my resume as "gallery". SMoCA's unwillingness to give a gallery to a show devoted to contemporary jewelry tells us that we are still marginallized as a field, even within the arts. I often wonder if anyone outside the metals community pays any attention to us at all. Now, I view the show not only as an opportunity to educate the public about contemporary jewelry, but also to show SMoCA why we deserved a gallery space in the first place.

People are also upset about the additional cost to the participating artists. One person even went to far as to suggest a reduction in the entry fee. This doesn't make sense at all, since that money goes toward paying my jurors and print materials for promoting the show. SNAG doesn't see any of that money. I don't see any of that money, despite the amount of work I'm putting in to see my idea come to fruition. In fact, as a recent graduate and still unemployed, I'm becoming increasingly nervous about how I'm going to cover the cost of my trip to the conference.

I understand why people are upset, and I'm trying really hard not to take anything personally. People are saying that the show should never even had been posted if there was no insurance, but I wonder if they would say the same thing if they were in my position of trying to launch a career. I feel like I have to take advantage of any opportunity that comes my way, and from where I stand any show is better than no show at all.

Currently the Exhibitions Committee (whom, I've found to be nothing but helpful and supportive), are working with the Scottsdale Arts Council to provide some sort of insurance for the space. I sincerely hope they resolve the issue. Even if the show proceeds with out insurance, I hope that enough people will still be willing to take the risk that we can still put on a spectacular show.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hot Under the Collar Prospectus

Here is the prospectus for the Hot Under the Collar Show, both as a PDF and a Word Doc.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Process Shot of the Week

When I was in undergrad at Kent State, we always had ornaments as part of our holiday sale. We even had competitions with prizes. For whatever reason, I was never able to come up with any ornament ideas.

Five years after the fact, I finally came up with some ornament designs, and I'm actually pretty excited about them. They're die formed, pierced and enameled copper, and seem to be gaining more loops as I go. Some have graphite, some have acrylic painting enamel or liquid enamel.

I've also been making North Carolina ornaments with various roll print textures. Because Lord knows I love North Carolina and roll printing.

All my ornaments will be available at the Shop and Mingle sale at Emerge Gallery, Greenville, NC, as mentioned in the previous post. I may be posting a few in my Etsy shop as well, so keep your eyes pealed.

Also, this happened:
Happy Monday!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Shop and Mingle

This holiday season, I'll be selling work at Shop and Mingle at Emerge Gallery, located in downtown Greenville. The event starts Thursday, December 1st with a preview sale from 5-9pm, and includes heavy appatizers, beer, wine, door prizes, live music and a silent auction. The sale will be open to the public Friday, December 2nd, 5-9 pm and Saturday, December 3rd, 9am-4pm.

I'll be taking the majority of my Etsy inventory for this sale, so if you've had your eye on a piece, I recommend you snag it sooner rather than later. I'll be making so new inventory for this sale as well, and hope to have several sets of Mica Earrings and a few Mica Necklaces for sale.

If you're in the Greenville area on these dates, stop by and say hi! The Holiday Sale will also be going on at the ECU School of Art and Design so come on out and buy handmade!

My Etsy Jewelry Shop
My Etsy Paper Shop

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

La Noche del Broche

I was asked to participate in La Noche del Broche, hosted by Equinox Gallery in San Antonio. I had totally planned to make something new for this show, but it totally didn't pan out, so I had to go with something I already had on hand. It's not a bad brooch, but I'm not super thrilled to be sending it to this show packed with artists I admire. I guess sometimes you just have to go with what you got and not obsess over it.

Anyways, it looks like it's going to be a spectacular show, with a ton of spectacular artists. The opening reception in Dec. 2, from 6-9 pm. You should totally check it out if you're in the San Antonio area.

Here's the line up:

Abigail Heuss

Alejandro Sifuentes

Amy Tavern

Andrew Kuebeck

Angela Bubash

Anne Fiala

Annie Pennington

Ashley Buchanan

Atsuko Taniguchi

Autumn Brown

Beverly Penn

Billie J Theide

Bob Ebendorf

Caroline Gore

Claudia Rush

Corey Ackelmire

Courtney Starrett

Cydney Romano

Linda Kay Darty

Dejan Jovanovic

Elizabeth Crandall

Emily Marquis

Galatea Kontos

Gary Schott

George Schroeder

Hannah Stein

Jacob Martin

James Thurman

Jason Stein

Jason Polasek

Jenn Wells

Jillian Palone

Justin Klocke

Kat Cole

Kate Codsen

Kathleen Janvier

Kelly Robinson

Ken Bova

Krista Coleman-Silvers

Laritza Garcia

Laura Wood

Leia Zumbro

Lin Stanionis

Lindsay Hendricks

Lisa Johnson

Lisette Fee

Liz Steiner

Lorena Angulo

Louise Oppenheiner

Lydia Tjioe

Lynette Andreasen

Margot Wolf

Margit Morawietz

Marissa Saneholtz

Marjorie Schick

Marlene True

Mary Hallam Pearse

Masako Onodera

Melanie Smith

Melissa Walter

Mi-Sook Hur

Michael Dale Bernard

Michael Gayk

Micheal Parrett

Nathan Dube

Nicole DesChamps-Benke

Pat Gavin

Paulette Myers

Rachel Shimpock

Renee Settle-Sterling

Robert Diaz de Leon

Robert G Jackson

Robert Longyear

Sandra Zilker

Sara Brown

Sarah Holden

Sarah Roberts

Sarah West

Shalena White

Stephanie Voegele

Sun Kim

Sung Yeoul Lee

Tara Locklear

Tim Lazure

Tina Lazzarine

Tova Lund

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Walk in the Woods

So I started to get a bit panicky today over the incredible amount of work I need to get done, mainly a stack of applications, and a string of deadlines, plus a sum of money spent of materials to make work for an upcoming holiday sale, and a pile of work to make for said sale. All this is compounded by the fact that I don't even know where I'm going to be living after the holidays. Yikes, I'm getting anxious just typing this!

I eventually learned that when I get stuck in my own head like this, it's best to step back and take a walk. And it's a beautiful day to be outside here in Eastern NC; 75 and sunny. So I took myself down to the Greenway and walked around for about an hour. I took my camera and a sketchbook, and while I didn't make any sketches, I did shoot some photos.

Back to tackling the To Do List!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Process Shot of the Week

I've been trying to brush up on my basic bench skills a bit, and also trying to use the materials I have at hand, including my large collection of cabachons. It's not much, but here's a couple rings I've made lately.

I also got asked to cover a class for a friend and teach loop in loop chains with fused fine silver jump rings. I'd never made that kind of chain before. I guess I was taught to solder jump rings, and focused more on linked chains as opposed to loop in loop . But I'm game for almost anything so I agreed. I decided to practice chain making in general and made up this little sampler, just so the students could see a variety of things they could do.

Happy weekend! Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Hot Under the Collar

I've been keep mum about a largish project I've had in the works for several months now. I'm curating an exhibition for the 2012 SNAG Conference in Phoenix. It's been a bit nerve wracking, and a HUGE learning experience, but I think it will be a spectacular show.

Hot Under the Collar: A Survey of Contemporary Necklaces

Choker, collar, lariat, torque, pendant, the necklace is one of the most diverse formats available to metalsmiths today. Whether cascading down the front, or draped down the back, the possibilities are nearly endless. The human torso provides us with one of our largest canvases, while still keeping body as site.

From comments on the classic strand of pearls to contemporary takes on armor, this jurried exhibition seeks to showcase how metalsmiths today interpret this incredibly versatile object.


Bob Ebendorf

Robert Ebendorf is the Belk Distinguished Professor at the East Carolina University Metal Design program. He has also taught at the University of Georgia and the State University of New York at New Paltz, as well as conducted workshops all over the country. Ebendorf has received numerous grants and awards, including a Louis Comfort Tiffany Grant, an American Crafts Council Award, and most recently the North Carolina Award, the highest civilian honor awarded by the state of North Carolina. He has exhibited work extensively both nationally and internationally. Ebendorf has works in the permanent collections of the Museum of Art and Design, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Mint Museum of Craft and Design, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Amy Tavern

Amy Tavern received a BFA in Metal Design from the University of Washington and a BA in Arts Administration from the State University of New York, College at Fredonia. In addition to being a studio artist, Tavern has taught at the Penland School of Crafts, Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, and the Pratt Fine Arts Center. Tavern has lectured at the 2008 Society of North American Goldsmiths Conference, East Carolina University, and Winthrop University. She has exhibited at Sienna Gallery, Aaron Faber Gallery, and Heidi Lowe Gallery, among others. Tavern’s work has been published in numerous publications, most recently in SNAG’s 2011 Exhibition in Print. Tavern is currently a resident artist at the Penland School of Crafts. Her work can be found in galleries around the U.S. and abroad.

Hot Under the Collar will be shown May 24-27, in conjunction with the 2012 SNAG Conference. The exhibition will take place at the Scottsdale Museum of art, in a large atrium. Please note that while the exhibition space is secure, the museum will not be providing insurance. Accepted works must arrive at SMOCA on or before May 23, 2012. Return shipping costs must be covered by the artist either by pre-paid shipping label or by credit card. Work may also be picked up from SMOCA at the end of the conference.

Contact me for the prospectus at

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Monday, November 7, 2011

November Rosaries

I finally finished up all the rosaries I had on deck for the Day of All Souls. Over all, I'm pretty pleased with them, except maybe the carnelian one (the orange one) I may restring it with closer spacing so that it feels more like a rosary and less like a string of beads. This was a good exercise for me, since I feel like I had to push to come up with components. I also tried several stringing variations, and I think I came up with the one I like the best.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Peter's Valley Part 5

In honor of All Souls Day, I thought I'd post some of the pics I took of the cemetery at PV. Slide presentations took place in the little empty church in the middle of the cemetery. I grew up next to a cemetery and find them both beautiful and intriguing. This one had a bunch of really unique tombstones.
Stone Tree
This one was my favorite. It appears to be a cast iron headstone, red from all the rust. It really stands out amongst all the white and gray stones.

Some of the marble stones had these copper supports which had turned green and stained the marble.
Happy Day of All Souls!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

All Saints Day

So Halloween is finally over. I'm kind of relieved. I enjoyed Halloween when I was a kid, but I find the college town approach the holiday it kind of silly. I'm much more fascinated by the Day of the Dead, especially in connection to All Saints Day and All Souls Day.

Today is All Saints Day, honoring saints both known and unknown. I wish I had my saints books here so I could spend the day reading and contemplating the idea of an unknown saint and my own personal (read: made up) saints. There's a body of work brewing in this vein, and I'm anxious to get sketching. As it is, though, I need to spend some studio time, part of which will be spent prepping rosaries. I plan to spend a good part of tomorrow, the Day of All Souls making rosaries. Some are shell, some are gemstone, and some have fabricated elements. I'd like to think that if ever I have a retrospective of my work at the end of my career, there will be a whole wall of rosaries. So far I have seven ready to be strung together.

Stay tuned for the results. Happy All Saints Day.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Boo. . . .

As a Halloween bonus, here's the horror show of enamels I've made in the past few weeks. Muddy china paints, sinking cloisonne wires, base coats coming up through the top layer, accidentally grabbing an opaque when I thought it was a transparent, dropping things in the kiln or on the screen or on the floor or in the sink. October was one of the crappiest months I've had in the studio EVER.

I was going to add that blue atrocity from this post to the pile, but now I can't find it. Maybe one of the cats ate it.